“Measures should be taken to strengthen the interface between policymaking and science in order to facilitate informed political decision-making on sustainable development issues.”
UN Photo/Mark Garten
So reads one of the policy recommendations from the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability. The panel includes 22 international leaders many of whom are scientists or current or former heads of state such as, Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Norwegian prime minister, and Kevin Rudd, Minister for Foreign Affairs and former Prime Minister of Australia. The report, which comes on the heels of an early round of negotiations for the Rio+20 conference, offers a vision for the future “to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and make growth inclusive, and production and consumption more sustainable, while combating climate change and respecting a range of other planetary boundaries.” To realize this vision they have laid out fifty-six recommendations for the global community to take up, on topics ranging from pricing the true cost of natural resources to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. And number 44 on the list is the recommendation quoted above: bridging the gap between science and policy-making.
This recommendation hits the core of Continue reading
And Dr. Sterman’s commentary:
On May 4, 2007, Greensburg, Kansas, was destroyed by an F5 tornado. Almost every building in town was leveled. Eleven were killed, dozens injured. Yet within days, the people of Greensburg had committed to rebuild their town, and to rebuild green. Today, Greensburg is the greenest town in the USA, and maybe the world. Much of their electricity now comes from wind. There’s some solar. There’s geothermal. And there’s highly efficient buildings. There are more LEED Platinum rated buildings in Greensburg per person, and per acre, than anywhere in the United States. All town buildings are now LEED Platinum. There are Platinum rated homes, a beautiful, LEED Platinum school for the children of Kiowa county, and Platinum-rated private businesses. People come from all over the world to see how a small farming community pulled together to rebuild and transform. When I visited this September with Randy Olson, we met two visitors from China’s leading teacher training university who were touring Greensburg’s new school to learn how they can develop green schools in China. Continue reading
Professor David Peart and Dr. Lori Siegel led a powerful learning experience for Dartmouth College students using the C-ROADS simulator as part of the Copenhagen Climate Exercise (now World Climate)
The College created an engaging video on the experience — check it out above. And their press release is here.
Sustainability issues and our team’s connections run deep at Dartmouth College. The founder of our organization, Sustainability Institute, Donella Meadows, taught there for several decades. Professor David Peart serves on our board. And four members of our core C-ROADS and Climate Interactive team — Dr. John Sterman (MIT), Dr. Beth Sawin (SI), Dr. Tom Fiddaman (Ventana Systems), and me (Drew Jones — SI) — are all alums.
“And now everyone lift their watermelon over their head…!”
Click above for recent presentation of results from our C-ROADS simulation in Asheville North Carolina, home of NCDC — the country’s largest repository of climate data.
The model images are difficult to see. For clearer versions, check out the similar model runs here in our presentation in Sweden.
Thanks to Charles Elmer of WuMedia for filming and editing.
Old friend and fellow Rocky Mountain Institute alumnus Auden Schendler this week has released a gem of a book: “Getting Green Done — Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution.”
I gobbled down over the past few days. The delightful experience of reading Auden’s insights and real-world anecdotes about reducing the environmental impact of the Aspen Skiing Company reminded me of reading Paul Hawken’s “The Ecology of Commerce” in 1993 or hearing Interface’s Ray Anderson’s classic keynotes soon after. Inspiring. Hopeful. Asking for the best from business and all of us.
And yet “Getting Green Done” is a book for a new decade and responds to the urgency of this year by taking an extra step: in his on-the-ground projects, Schendler has won, lost, lost again, and he reflects honestly about the journey. He breaks with the sustainability pack that spreads the half-truth that “Green is Easy” and prepares us for the important yet challenging work of remaking our economy to support the viability of life on Earth. And makes us laugh along the way.
We need to radically increase the ratio of grunts to visionaries, with fewer grand pronouncements made from podiums and more belly-crawling through the swamps.
And you can watch and hear Auden in a short video here.
Having just returned from making grand pronouncements from DC podiums, this book stung in the best way. It is time to roll up our sleeves, people!
We are now accepting applications for the 2009-2010 Donella Meadows Leadership Fellowship here at Sustainability Institute.
The program honors and builds on the legacy of our organization’s founder and my mentor, Dana Meadows (pictured to the left on her New Hampshire farm).
As a trainer and coach in the last three cohorts of the program, I can say that the Fellowship is a great opportunity to learn systems thinking and organizational learning skills and challenge yourself to take your sustainability work up a notch or two, as part of a supportive community.
And this cohort will get some chances to work with C-ROADS (formerly called Pangaea) and its application to achieving big climate results.
We are looking for some diverse and powerful leaders, so please send folks to the site.